Allison's Book Bag

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

Posted on: January 1, 2015

FirstBook

When I decided in December to review favorite books, I tried to choose ones that were lesser known. And yet I’ve picked the book that launched Judy Blume’s career: Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. You see, among all of her books, it’s the book one that had the greatest impact on me.

In fifth grade, I received a copy of the aforementioned book from my dad. I read it and loved it immediately. Sometime later, when in the bathroom, I looked down at my underpants. The words of Margaret immediately came to mind: “Then I looked down at my underpants and couldn’t believe it. There was blood on them.” I ran to find my dad, and stammered on and on about Margaret. Eventually, I got to the point, or maybe my dad just figured it out. At any rate, we called my aunts and sought their recommendations for sanitary pads. So you see, Margaret is the one who taught me about periods.

Ironically, Margaret (among others, like Vikki Austin) also helped me with my adolescent faith. For anyone who knows the book and who knows me, this might seem like an odd thing to say for several reasons. First, Margaret’s parents had no faith, whereas my dad is a conservative Christian. Second, thanks to a school project, Margaret decides to explore the faith of her two sets of  grandparents: Christianity and Judaism. In contrast, I attended a Pentecostal school and accepted its beliefs. At some point, though, Margaret is disappointed by God. Really, it’s her grandparents who hurt her and a friend who betrays her. But she blames God. When the biggest and best moment of her life occurs, however, Margaret realizes just how important God is to her. She may have been a fictional character, but reading about her struggles and her return to God helped me feel more confident in my faith. In short, because Margaret prayed to God, I felt better about praying to God.

As for rest of the book, Margaret and her friends talk about boys, shopping, breasts, and school. I won’t deny that all these topics weren’t paramount in my mind, even if the exact circumstances of my teen years were different. For example, the birthday parties I attended still involved innocent party games, rather than opportunities to feel up the other sex. In addition, I felt overly self-conscious about my figure, while Margaret and her friends exercised daily to increase their busts. Yet for all the ways that her world was different from mine, Margaret and I had enough in common that I was reassured that being a girl was acceptable.

Now, if you’re a guy, you may be asking, “but what about me?” Well, Judy Blume had two sons, and she wrote about the boy experience in Then Again Maybe I Won’t. It’s not my favorite book, but it is an enlightening look at what it means to be male. For girls, Margaret is the definitive guide when it comes to what it means to be female.

My rating? Bag it: Carry it with you. Make it a top priority to read.

How would you rate this book?

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2 Responses to "Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume"

Beautifully put! Thank you for having the courage to give me a copy of Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.

Great introduction to another of my all-time favourite children’s books! In line with Judy Blume’s italicizing of Margaret’s addresses to God in it, I’ll italicize the next part of my comment.

Are you there, God? It’s me, Allison’s dad. Thanks for books like “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret” which helped me, a single father, meet the girl issues in Allison’s life. And thanks for books like it which make their readers think about their relationship with you. Even more, thanks for allowing us that relationship and giving us so many other blessings.

Happy New Year! May 2015 be a banner year for Allison’s Book Bag.

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